Tim Kasher likes to keep fans on their toes in what to expect from new material. In March, he released his third solo record, No Resolution, on 15 Passenger Records, a label that was recently launched and is run by Cursive. No Resolution is one of his most cinematic pieces to date, which comes as no surprise, as it accompanies Kasher’s film debut as a director, in a film that shares the album’s name.
We chatted with Kasher about the film, daydreaming about stage productions, the record itself, as well as his future in the world of cinema.
Modern Vinyl: “No Resolution” was released last month. Where did you draw inspiration from for it over the past few years?
Tim Kasher: I really got into both Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen over the last few years, and though this record doesn’t sound much like either of those artists, I still had them in mind as I worked on this.
MV: This is your third solo album. How has your songwriting process evolved over the last few albums?
TK: I guess I’m just always trying to improve writing. The “how” is a tough question to answer, one that an outside observer may be better at analyzing. Tough to get too far into one’s own head when it comes to gauging improvement?
MV: Would you say that “No Resolution” is more of a concept album?
TK: No, I suppose not. The film it’s tied to is the “concept,” so to speak, and these songs — when they are associated to those characters — becomes somewhat connected to that concept. But this record is not a concept album in and of itself.
MV: It’s also the soundtrack to the upcoming film you are directing. How did you get involved with that?
TK: I’ve been writing screenplays for some time now and this is the first one that I actively went forward and produced myself. Earlier screenplays had a tendency to get hung up with production companies and financial issues, ultimately thwarting the projects from seeing the light of day. It was quite nice to finally take matters into my own hands and see a script through from inception to production.
MV: What direction did you want to take behind the lens?
TK: This movie has a lot of influence from both Mike Leigh and Mike Nichols. I sought to tell a story driven mostly by the characters and less so by the visual implementation of filmmaking, if that makes any sense. More of a stage play than a film, is perhaps what I’m getting at?
MV: What has working on a film helped teach you?
TK: Well, a ton about how films are made, haha. It was a crash course, to be sure. But in the more general realm of writing in different mediums, it was a good exercise in story management, which I think can be useful for building a more cohesive album.
MV: When you talk about it being a “good exercise in story management,” why do you think that can be useful in making a more “cohesive album”?
TK: I’ve felt that the years of making albums has helped me to understand the album as one cohesive piece. The more I’ve worked on them, the better I feel I’ve gotten at being able to step back and consider all those individual songs as one whole, which is not as easy as it may sound. Working on scripts and then a film production is a grossly exaggerated version of that, but something I also feel I’m improving in. So, that growth can be returned to managing albums.
MV: Are there more films lurking in your future?
TK: I sure hope so. I have many scripts (any takers?) and am finishing my most recent one that I’m hoping will be the self-produced followup to No Resolution. A separate production company is currently looking at getting an older script, Help Wanted Nights, into production. Fingers crossed!
MV: How did you decide on writing the music to help accompany the film?
TK: It’s the natural decision, I suppose. Whenever I daydream of making a movie, I always include writing the score as part of the vision.
MV: What’s next for you, post-“No Resolution”?
TK: Finishing this script, considering the next solo record, working on ideas for future releases with Cursive, playing in my LA band Battlax!
MV: Is there anything else you’d like to add today?
TK: I appreciate Modern Vinyl, thanks for your dedication!!
Over at the 15 Passenger Bandcamp, you can find information about ordering No Resolution. The album is limited to 1,000 copies, pressed on a blue with white splatter 140-gram record. Currently, there are 101 records left, as well as a T-shirt/CD bundle, the CD itself, and of course, a digital version of the record.